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Flathead Lake + Wallace Stevens + Happy Links

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"Perhaps the truth depends on a walk around the lake." - Wallace Stevens

Happy Links: 

Wrapping it Up: 

  • I came clean about my tendency to over-plan the you-know-what out of vacations. I'm working really hard not to go into planning mode as we get ready for our road trip. We'll see how that goes. :)
  • Have you ever wondered what it takes to get the Going-to-the-Sun Road cleared in Glacier National Park every year? Since we're heading that way soon, we've been curious. I started asking around and got the scoop!

Housekeeping: 

  • I've asked a few friends to stop by the blog next week, so keep your eyes peeled for some fantastic posts. Seriously...you won't want to miss them.
  • Have you switched from Google Reader yet? You can find me over on Bloglovin' and Feedly is pretty great too. You can also subscribe via email right here

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Have a lovely weekend, my friends! 


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2013: The Year of Creativity

Okay, so I'm fairly certain most bloggers and readers out there are tired of posts about resolutions and "this will be the year it all comes together!" rhetoric. In an attempt to steer clear of the usual "New Year, New Me" chatter, I'd like to instead offer up a promise:In 2013, I promise to create something every day.

Now, that doesn't necessarily mean I'll end up with 365 "somethings." It also doesn't mean I'll be posting everything I create to this blog. What it does mean is that I'll be working to explore my creativity every, single day.

  • I may finally draft that essay to submit for publication.
  • I might polish up those story pitches.
  • Maybe I'll work on creating a really well-composed photo.
  • I could modify a favorite recipe.
  • Heck, maybe I'll even start painting again!

Really, the opportunities to dive into the creative process are endless. I intend to use this promise as a way to remind myself every day that I am a creative person. I forget all the time. As I attempt to make a living doing what I love, I often focus too much on the accounting-marketing-promotional-bottom-line side of owning a business. Add in my penchant for worrying, and all of that business can send me down a path leading to everything except creativity.

So, since I'm on Day 1 of this promise, I'd like to share my first video edit using my new GoPro camera! I've been researching the tiny wonders for a while now and I finally decided to go for it. I shot this yesterday, but I edited the video this morning. We all know that edits are where the magic happens, right? Yeah. So I'm claiming this as something I created today. :)

Please change the quality to 720p or 1080p HD by clicking on the little gear icon along the bottom of the video window.

A few disclaimers:

1.) Yes, I'm aware that this is sooooo boring compared to the amazing GoPro edits out there and that I could have captured this footage with almost any camera. I figured it would be best to learn the functions of the camera on solid ground. Don't worry, I've got more exciting plans for this little dynamo of a camera in the future.

2.) As I share some of my creative endeavors, there's a really good chance that whatever I create will be... well... awful. I'm learning new things and sharing as I do so. Sometimes, I might share something terrible. You've been warned.

3.) This isn't really time-lapse photography. I just increased and decreased the speed of the video in iMovie. I know, I know... that's like cheating. I'm learning, remember!

I hope you'll stick with me on this resolution goal and hold me accountable. I thoroughly enjoy reading your comments and hearing more about your experiences, so if you have any tips or recommendations for nurturing one's creative side...I'm all ears!

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Cheers, friends!

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A Very NorCal Holiday

I hope you all had (or are still having) a wonderful holiday season surrounded loved ones. This is such a festive time of year and I can't help but feel grateful and full of love. For the holiday, we visited family in Crescent City, had a chance to see some old friends, ate and drank waaaaay too much (p.s. I'm totally making this soup to bring on the veggies) and enjoyed our time on the road. We're feeling pretty fulfilled at the moment and we still have a few family gatherings to attend!Here's a little photo snippet from our trip:

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{If you follow me on Instagram, you may have already seen a few of these. In case you're wondering after reading this post, I've decided to keep using the app for two reasons: 1.) the founders appear to have listened to their users (at least for now) and 2.) Instagram really does have the most user-friendly platform and the best filters (at least for now). :) }

The past week has been filled with good times and the peace and quiet I had been looking for. I hope to take a few more days off from this blog and return to bring you fun, helpful and engaging content in 2013.

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Happy Friday, all!

Looking for recommendations for a trip to Northern California? There's an app for that! I've collected all of my favorite places to explore the great outdoors in Northern California into one app, which you can download from iTunes right here.

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Recipe: The One With All the Rum

When most people smell rum, they probably think of tropical drinks. You know, the ones with those tiny umbrellas? Well, when I catch a whiff of rum I think of Christmas at my Nana and Papa's house. Yes, the deliciously strong smell of alcohol synonymous with pirates (yo-ho-ho, anyone?) conjures up fond memories of my British grandparents.It's not as strange as it sounds. You see, my family, both immediate and extended, show love with food. For generations, we've been offering up goodies in times of great joy, terrible sadness and everything in between. My Nana and Papa were no different.

At Christmastime, they would get to work in the kitchen creating goodies like peanut brittle, mince pies and Christmas pudding. The standout for me, however, was the simple rum ball. Some people in our family love them, some don't. For those of us who do, the rum-laden treats are like gold.

Now, I know it seems early to start sharing favorite Christmas recipes, but stay with me. These goodies are best if made well in advance and kept in the refrigerator to... ahem... cure.

The best part of this rum ball recipe has to be that it only involves 5 ingredients: walnuts, vanilla wafers, honey, rum and cocoa.

Recipe for traditional rum balls via Jennifer E. Snyder

We recently scored a huge bag of walnuts from my in-laws, which is awesome. Walnuts can be a bit pricey at the store, so we're always grateful when we can get them for the low, low price of a hug. :)

Let's break this down:

The walnuts and vanilla wafers act as the base for the "cake." This time around, I used my pathetic little dorm-sized food processor (a grown up food processor is definitely on my Christmas list this year), but I've also just chopped the walnuts and used a rolling pin to grind up the vanilla wafers in a plastic zip lock bag. As far as consistency goes, it's really up to you. I like processing everything to a fairly fine consistency (think cookie crumbs), but some would rather have large chunks of walnuts in their version of the recipe.

Recipe for traditional rum balls via Jennifer E. Snyder
Recipe for traditional rum balls via Jennifer E. Snyder

Once you've chopped everything, it's time to add the honey and rum. The honey acts as a sweetener (obviously) and helps bind everything together. The rum adds moisture and, of course, flavor.

Recipe for traditional rum balls via Jennifer E. Snyder
Recipe for traditional rum balls via Jennifer E. Snyder

Once you mix everything together, it's time to get to rolling. If you're like me, you're cool with just estimating the amount dough you need to make a nice golf ball-sized rum ball. I'm sure there are folks out there worried about each treat being the same size. You could probably use a melon baller or small scoop to ensure consistency, if you're interested.

After rolling comes the final touch: a coat of cocoa:

Recipe for traditional rum balls via Jennifer E. Snyder
Recipe for traditional rum balls via Jennifer E. Snyder
Recipe for traditional rum balls via Jennifer E. Snyder

When you're done, you'll be left with dozens of delicious holiday treats ready for the festivities!

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Holiday Rum Balls:

  • 3 cups crushed vanilla wafers
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup rum
  • Cocoa to coat

Mix first 4 ingredients well. Shape into balls and roll in cocoa. Keep in an air tight container in refrigerator.

If you're planning on giving these away for the holidays, you can easily double or triple the recipe. I also find that I end up adding a bit more honey and rum to this recipe at the end, so adjust according to your taste.

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The second best thing about this recipe is that there are substitutes for every ingredient. Prefer graham crackers to vanilla wafers? Go for it! Have an affinity for almonds? Use those instead of walnuts. White corn syrup can be used in place of honey to help keep it all together and, believe it or not, you can trade out the rum for brandy or sherry. Even the cocoa can be swapped out if you have Nestle's Quick on hand (in fact, some prefer it).

'Tis the season to work with what you've got, so it's no surprise just how many variations of this recipe exist. I say experiment and make them with whatever sounds good to you.

Me? I'm sticking with rum. :)

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Anyone else have fond holiday memories associated with alcohol-infused treats? Spill it, people. Link up in the comment section if you have a tasty recipe to share!


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